WIUM Tristates Public Radio

More Spin Doctors, Fewer Fact Checkers

Mar 10, 2015

In an article on the “Take Part” website, Eric Alterman wrote that public relations is killing journalism. Alterman pointed out there are now 4.6 public relations specialists in America for every one reporter. And those p.r. specialists make considerably more money on average than reporters.

But Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton does not blame public relations for killing journalism.  She feels journalism is killing itself.  She said the executives who make financial decisions are causing journalism’s demise.

Rich Moreno agreed, saying newspapers have made one misstep after another in the past 20 years. He also said newspapers were highly profitable in the 1970s and ‘80s.  He said many still make money but not as much as before so executives have cut staff sizes.

Rich Egger believes those cutbacks are largely to blame for the gap between the number of p.r. professionals and reporters. He also thinks journalism is being hurt by all the light-hearted content produced to draw audiences and generate on-line hits.

Crighton added studies have found fewer people find broadcast news credible. And Moreno said that’s exacerbated by the polarized nature of some cable news programs.